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Cyclists had lights on before deadly wreck

3 years 1 day 16 hours ago Thursday, October 16 2014 Oct 16, 2014 October 16, 2014 5:46 PM October 16, 2014 in News
Source: WBRZ
By: Rob Krieger

BATON ROUGE - A traffic crash expert says at least one cyclist had LED lights illuminated on his bike when Joseph Branch hit and killed one man, injuring another.

Branch faces vehicular homicide charges for killing Nathan Crowson and injuring Danny Morris while they rode their bikes on Perkins road in 2012.

An expert toxicologist told jurors Branch had likely consumed the equivalent of half of a bottle of whiskey in the two hours before he hit the two men.

The bartender who served Branch told jurors he ordered three double jack and cokes and six different shots, before he left the bar, nearly running into a stool.

Branch's childhood friend, who was drinking with him that day told jurors the shots were split between three people.

The toxicologist told jurors Crowson had smoke weed at some point that day and three tablets of LSD were found in his pocket.

The defense hopes to convince jurors that not only were the men impaired at the time they were hit by Branch, but that anyone else driving in a similar situation would have hit the men because they were wearing dark clothes and one bike may have not had proper lighting elements.

"He could have gotten over to the left lane. He hit us, then drove 87 feet before he stopped. He could have gotten around us. The other cars did. There are no skid marks from the other guys, so he didn't have to hit his brakes," said Morris outside of court.

An expert accident investigator told jurors that Branch was likely driving between 51 & 57 MPH and that a driver traveling the speed limit, 45 MPH, could have avoided hitting the two men even if they weren't seen until the cyclist appeared in the driver's headlights.

The investigator also told jurors that while Morris' bike had it's LED lights on when he arrived at the scene, Crowson's bike's lights were off and likely weren't illuminated at the time of the accident, though Morris was behind Crowson and hit first.

The prosecution will continue laying out their case tomorrow morning in Judge Mike Erwin's court.

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